I’ve been getting real close with my sewing room lately. Major time spent together. Shared happiness and frustration. A total lack of adequate lighting. It’s give and take relationship. But boy am I glad that I have a dim, little refuge to work on the projects piling up around me. All this time spent sewing, and I’m learning some pretty fun lessons. You want me to share them? Okay!

1. Did you know that a lint roller is the best way to pick up all those loose threads from seam ripping? Works like a charm! A hard lesson learned after at least fifteen minutes spent plucking threads, one by one, out of the hem of jeans.

2. The lint that builds up inside of a well-loved shirt’s pockets is gross…just gross.

3. Your state-of-the-art, amazing-in-every-way sewing machine does have its limits. It’s called four layers of denim.

4. Alterations are a ridiculously fun way to make money. And neglecting school work is a great way to cause major test anxiety. Still searching for the balance.

So I’m pumped, folks. I will attend a blogger meet up this weekend with this lovely lady at Fabricate (where I’ll be teaching classes soon)! I feel like a seven year old whose parents just told her she’s leaving for Disney World on Saturday evening. Valium might be necessary for four nights of proper sleep. Life is just a series of exciting events lately, isn’t it? Meadow Rue goes international next week, so stay tuned!

It has come to my attention that my sister, Whitney, should be writing this blog for me. These Sistershare posts are kicking my post’s butt, in a good way. In fact, I love that she’s letting me share them, because otherwise there’d be a whole lotta nothing on this blog for the next two weeks. And this Sistershare is just in time for Halloween!

The Charlie Tunic, from Made by Rae is totally cute, and such a versatile pattern to showcase contrasting holiday fabrics. Whitney went Halloween with this one, and can I just say? those little orange triangular buttons are perfect. Also, they strangely have me craving candy corn.
The facts, straight up:
Pattern:  Made by Rae Charlie Tunic
Size:  3T
Fabric:  Orange Jo-Ann broadcloth (too thin in retrospect), Jo-Ann holiday print
Notions:  Orange Jo-Ann buttons, black elastic cord
Difficulty:  Advanced beginner
Make it again?:  Already have.  Wait until you see the follow-up!

Her words, not mine:

“So this was my very first attempt at the Charlie Tunic, and I’m not going to lie, it was a bit of a stretch for me.  The epattern is great and the instructions are thorough, but it’s a tricky little bugger with a lot of steps.  Give yourself an entire afternoon on this one, ladies.

 Problems arose because I tend to do this thing when I’m sewing where I get frustrated by not understanding a specific step, think the pattern would come together easier if I did it a different way and then just start to wing it.  Hence the reason the sleeve facings are not the same as Rae’s and the addition of the big band along the bottom versus side vents.  In the end, it created a perfectly cute little shirt, but I can definitely tell it’s my first attempt at this pattern.

 Basically, if you’re a new sewist (sewer, whatever), I would advise using some cheap fabric for your first Charlie Tunic.  The half-price holiday fabric at Jo-Ann was clearly calling my name.  Once you’ve whipped  struggled through one, you’ll be on a roll.  The one piece of advice I have to impart:  if ironing the seam allowance (a scant ¼”) on the neck facing (step 7) is giving you fits, sew the seam allowance on the flat fabric first and follow that line to turn the fabric under and then iron.  This is especially useful on the curves.

Stay tuned for my elephant themed Charlie.  You won’t be disappointed.”

Hi friends. I’ve missed you. Life is busy. Wonderful, delightful, and serendipitous. But busy. My goodness.

I apologize for my absence in the blogosphere. Passing grad school has taken precedence. But I’m always thinking about you. I’m always wishing I was editing photos instead of working pivot tables. I’d always rather be sewing than nearly anything else. So bear with me. This too (and hopefully I) shall pass. In seven weeks.

But life is good, and fall is hanging around, letting us enjoy just a few more days of warmth. I think Colorado is at peak fall colors right now. My bike rides have been glorious. Not too hot, sunny, and filled with the most beautiful golden light.

Other golden things in my life? Oh, you know, just some thrifted jewelry. I’m on a kick.

I purchased the above pendant in Kalispell, Montana at the most epic thrift store I’ve ever seen. That thrift store may or may not have influenced my decision to go home for Thanksgiving. Of course, seeing my family is the main reason, but this thrift store played a small part. Yes, this pendant has a “G” engraved on it, which stands for absolutely no part of my name. So it stands for “Great”, because the necklace is just that.

These vintage earrings and wet hair. Totally, like, 1992. I’m pretty sure my mom had a pair of these. Beauties like these can be spotted at most thrift stores and I finally decided to pick up a pair. I love them. Such a nice casual earring, that, like all the other things featured in this post, allow you to be lazy about your morning routine. When you never take the jewelry off, you always look put together, right?

I apologize because you’ve seen this bracelet. I still haven’t taken it off since I bought it. It’s great, and so versatile. It can be paired with other bracelets for that arm party trend that’s happening. It can be worn alone for a simple and classic look. I didn’t realize my arms were so freckly and I never noticed that scar. Lovely.

It took me some time to venture into the thrifted jewelry arena. But I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve found so far. New jewelry is expensive, and thrifting some basic pieces is a great alternative.

Unfortunately, Sew Thrifted will be postponed a week. Despite being busier than a beaver, there are some pretty exciting things coming up that I’m working hard on! Stay tuned for some more guest blogging, more Sistershare, and a whole lotta bad jokes.

I’m pretty proud of the wonderful family I’ve been blessed with. You know this. Everyone I come into contact with knows this. I’m basically shouting it from the rooftops (I can’t help that I’m a loud talker). Because they’re awesome…all of them.

We’re goofy. And I promise I wear shirts other than this red plaid. –>

You also know that the three sisters LOVE to sew. But we love to sew very different things, and sewing for each of us has been an evolution.

My middle sister, Lindsey, is amazing at whipping up handbags, clothing, and and anything home decor. She’s also a killer pattern maker. In fact, in 2010, Lindsey and I teamed up and sold the handbag pattern she created via Etsy and fabric stores. Thirty-two people loved that pattern.

My oldest sister, Whitney (above), can throw pots like no one’s business; I have the bowl collection to prove it. But she didn’t catch the sewing bug until Sew Weekend in July. Now, she’s churning out the most amazing children’s clothing I’ve ever seen. And, “she has such a straight stitch”, according to my mom. Her creations can’t sit around unblogged about; that would just be wrong. So we decided to showcase some of her awesome miniature pieces, and provide a pattern review for each piece! It shall go by the moniker “Sistershare”. A name is required. For everything.

First up?
The Lucy Tunic

Source

I doubt this little girl’s tunic could be more precious. Not possible. The fact that it’s reversible? My heart just melted. Also? I’m not having kids unless someone can guarantee me they’ll look like that.

Whitney used an Alexander Henry floral complemented by a yellow geometric print. And wooden buttons. Why don’t we put wooden buttons on everything? That’s your homework.

The facts, straight up:

Pattern:  Shwin and Shwin, Lucy tunic
Size:  3T
Fabric:  Alexander Henry floral, unknown Jo-Ann yellow print
Difficulty:  Easy; change out snaps for buttons for an even simpler construction
Make it again?:  Sure!  Need to find a tiny person to put it on first.

Her words, not mine:

“This was my first attempt at one of Shwin and Shwin’s epatterns. I printed and assembled the pattern and then cut out the 3T. This is a great method for small children’s patterns and I love that I have a digital backup for future use. 

I already had the floral, so I sewed that side first, omitting the pockets. As I don’t have kids, I’m not sure how necessary pockets are, but they seemed gratuitous. I had to make a second trip to the fabric store for the lining and settled for the inside pattern. One pattern note: Step 7 says to leave a small opening to turn the tunic inside out. You don’t need to; just use one of the arm holes. Secondly, the instructions don’t discuss pressing the tunic, but do it often during sewing. It makes for a nicer finished product. 

Mom helped me with the buttonholes. And by helped, I mean did them for me…The buttons were also from her stash. I have the hardest time picking buttons. Mom to the rescue.”

 

Can you tell we’re sisters? Lot’s more Sistershare coming your way! Next time, I’ll type in all caps to illustrate the decibel level we use when talking to each other. Get a drink or two in all of us and you’ll need earplugs, legitimately.

‘Member how I told you about that thrifted shirt I spotted from across the thrift store this weekend? This is it folks. A true gem. A ladies large polyester button up. It’s a lovely sheer, cream color with tiny little targets dotting the entire thing. Tiny little pinky-orange targets. It has square buttons and it’s vintage (i think). I was in puppy love.

After a quick resizing using Cotton and Curls’ method, that puppy love turned into a more mature, respectful kind of love. The kind of love that requires a real photographer and a gorgeous mountain sunset. I also added some pleats to the shoulders to bring them up a bit.

This shirt can be dressed up or down. I can’t wait to try it with a high waisted skirt. But it also looks great with jeans and a sweater over the top.

In that same thrifting trip I found a great gold bracelet that I haven’t taken off since I bought it. Thrifted jewelry is the best.

Sorry for the super short post friends, but this week has been a killer at school. It’ll all be over at 9:15 tonight after a presentation that gives me sweaty armpits just thinking about it. At least I’ll be sweating into a polyester, vintage shirt with tiny targets.

I have a love/hate relationship with throw pillows. For the occasional couch snooze, throw pillows are a must. But, when I’m too tired to even brush my teeth before bed (gross, I know), throw pillows are my nemesis. They have their place, I guess I should say. For me it’s on my chaircouch. Not on my bed.

But, I suppose, like many unexpected things, I will grow to love throw pillows in the bedroom, and several on the couch. Maybe I’ll even learn to love throw pillows in baskets, on shelves, and as table centerpieces. Because I’m pretty sure that’s what our world is coming to. Throw pillows. Everywhere.

This pillow does serve a valid purpose. It’s been my couch snooze pillow for at least three years. It’s that perfect amount of synthetic fill goodness (I give down pillows a thumbs…down) and the cover is so incredibly soft and cozy. And guess what? I made that cover! You can tell? Oh. Okay.

During open sew hours at Modern Domestic in Portland I whipped up this fun project out of old sweaters. The brown striped fabric were sleeves from a worn-out cardigan and the rust colored fabric was a cap sleeved blouse that had seen better days. I simply cut rectangles of fabric and pieced them together. Super easy, and very satisfying.

There’s a big project in the works that involves more repurposed sweaters that I can hardly wait to show you. But, it’s a grand project, and my last grand project took me nearly 7 years to complete, so maybe don’t get your hopes to super high. Maybe just medium high.

Exciting news in blogland! You can now communicate with Meadow Rue via email. See that envelope on the side bar –>? That will connect you to allie [at] meadow-rue [dot] com. I love, love, love email, so send over a message and let’s chat!

G’day mates!! Oh man, do I love Mondays. I’m one of those weird people who loves early mornings and the start to a new week. I also talk too much and I have zero table manners. Oh, and I am a complete slob. Wanna be best buds?

Furthermore, I take out-of-focus pictures of myself in 70 degree weather with thick, wool sweaters on. Then, I white-lie to my roommate when he asks what I’m taking pictures of. I’m a horrible person.

This chunky sweater is especially awesome. It truly is near and dear to my heart, despite the fact that I’ve worn it…never.

My parents brought this sweater back from Ireland at least four years ago. It’s 100% merino wool, nearly an inch thick and traps heat like a down comforter. And from the moment I tried it on, I hated the fit. Too boxy, not at all flattering. I can’t believe the Irish weren’t concerned with fashion when engineering a sweater that will have you sweating in subzero temps. But, I mean really, how could I get rid of it?

I decided to bring it out from hibernation this weekend with plans to turn this sweater into a pillow cover (sorry Mom). Cable knit pillows are possibly my favorite thing to covet on Pinterest, and making one has been on my to-do list forever. I found a pillow size that would require minimal sewing, and set to work. Right before those fabric shears tore into those perfectly knitted rows, I decided to try it on one last time.

My thought process:
“Oh yeah, this is just as fugly as I remembered. Why would anyone make such a bulky sweater? Let’s just see what it looks like if I take in the sides. That’s not terrible. Maybe if I can find a pin showcasing a beautiful woman in a chunky sweater, I can make this work. Yes, there’s one! Oh my, I’m not sure she’s wearing a bra. Oh, red cable knit, me likey. That. skirt. is. adorable.” (a two hour Pinterest session ensues)

That pin was found and the sweater was resized. Life is good.

I promise I’m hiring a photographer. And I’m sorry.

I resized this sweater using the same process as I did with Citron. Just took in the sides and arms, serged her up and I was sweating in no time.

A fun Sew Thrifted post is in the works for Thursday! Don’t you love when you spot a thrifty find from across the store and it turns out to be even better up close? Yeah, that happened and I cannot wait to show you!

I’m a huge numbers nerd. It’s a known fact. My first two jobs after undergrad required me to stare at a spreadsheet for eight hours a day. I say that I hated it, but, in fact, I kind of loved it. The joy that comes from finding a tiny formula error in a spreadsheet of 10,000 lines has no bounds. No bounds at all, folks.

So when my Digital Marketing professor required that we “listen” (via social media and the interwebs) on a certain topic, log our data and come up with valid conclusions, I was pumped. I got even more excited when she told us we could pick our own topic. I swear, guys, you’re never going to guess my topic.


Thrifting in Numbers

Thrifting has exploded among high school and college aged kiddos. I blame this music video. Youngens everywhere are tweeting that they want to go thrifting (often instead of going to class, tisk tisk). Many more of them were happily updating their statuses with pictures of their thrifting finds. A few wanted thrifting help.

Overall, the general sentiment towards thrifting was positive (cue air fist pump). Clothing was by far the most popular thrifted items discussed. Followed by home decor. Nearly everyone was thrifting with family and friends, often they were making an entire day of the activity.

Sweaters. People want sweaters. And they want them now. They can “feel their blood freezing”. If thrift stores know what’s good for them they should be showcasing those tattered sweaters in their front windows. They should be dumpster diving for the chunky cable knit variety. Sweaters are in.

This is fun right? I used Hootsuite and Google Alerts to collect the data between 9.30.12 and 10.10.12. I logged 115 conversations.

A Year of Nothing New (YNN) Update

My Year of Nothing New has an acronym now, so you know its super official. You can throw those three letters out to your friends in a conversation. It’s cool. I figured its time to give you an update, and soon an entire post about how the last 104 days have adjusted my habits.

My current observations:

  • Walking into a store and being approached by a salesperson is now the most irritating thing in the world to me. Thrift store employees don’t do this. Why must you try to sell me the most expensive thing in the store? I’m not buying mister salesman, so you can just save that pitch for someone else.
  • “Doing without” has gotten much easier. Wanting material items is akin to food cravings. If you just ignore the craving and eat something else, you’ll be fine. Even though I really need a new pair of black leggings (Mom, this is not a request for you to buy me black leggings), I can do without them for a year.
  • This project is a bit easier than I expected is because I was so incredibly fortunate to start with. Besides undies and bras (which is going to become an issue…soon), I was stocked up on most everything I needed. A life of convenience meant that I never went long without something I wanted, so I imagine these first six months will probably be a-okay. But when all of my socks have holes and my Tom’s look like a cat had their way with them; that is when this project is going to get difficult. I’m strangely looking forward to it.

Hope you all have a grand weekend, full of thrifted sweaters and family and friends!

When people ask me where I learned to sew, the answer’s always the same. My mom. My dear, sweet, tiny mama.  She taught each of her three daughters to operate her very nice sewing machine. She spent hours helping us rip seams and fix mistakes. She listened to us whine about how boring sewing was. Turns out, all three of us are pretty darn crazy about the hobby today.

My mother has sewn at least one hundred quilts since my birth. And she’s not slapping together the average log cabin variety. No way, jose. My mom is a quilting artist and she’s quickly gaining some noteriety.

To be less vague and get to the actual point, my mom was featured in a full page spread in the October/November issue of Quilting Arts! And this is her second time in the magazine! I am so proud of that woman.

She entered the “Signature Color Reader Challenge” and submitted a quilt block that was so wonderfully different from the other entries. She has always loved the color chartreuse, for as long as I can remember. And her block included colors that showcased it wonderfully.

Pick up a copy and check out her impeccable attention to detail (that a crappy iPhone picture cannot capture). If I could by new things, this would be framed on my wall. Next year, folks. Luckily there’s a copy waiting back home.

My mom is constantly inspiring me. She’s my biggest cheerleader and leaves such sweet little comments on this blog. Beyond all the other life skills she taught me, I’m so grateful she taught me and both of my sisters to sew. Now we share text messages of our latest creations, we ask for feedback about ideas, and we’re so incredibly supportive of each other. I love that. I’m so blessed.

Keep on creating mom!

Man, have things changed. Since July, not much of my life is the same. Except for Beagle, he’ll always be his whiney, adorable self. And my unwavering family and friends; thank goodness for them. But most everything else is 100% different. Not a bad thing, friends, not at all.

I love change. I get bored easily. And a new class schedule, new fun friends, and a new routine are a welcome relief. The fact that I just happened to stumble upon my passion in these past three months? Dairy-free icing on the gluten-free cake. Life is damn good.

To celebrate, last week I ordered (free!) business cards from this awesome site, and in doing so, got the opportunity to apply new titles to myself that i never dreamed I’d see under my name on a little piece of cardstock.

There’s this one thing, though. One thing I was totally oblivious of, before embarking on this journey. I had no idea that most of my girlfriends want to learn to thrift and sew, but don’t really know where to start. Many have been asking for help, once they discovered my blog. This is beyond exciting to me. Thrilling, even!

Most of my male friends? They want their clothes tailored. I can work with that.

Earlier this fall, I decided to dive right into teaching (starting at Fancy Tiger in Denver). Teaching one class got the ball rolling on so many other ideas. A video (or several) is coming for those non-local folks. And some local thrift and sew workshops are in the works. I’m also going to start taking alterations!

This is the new me. I’m loving it. And I’m sure it’ll morph into something entirely different, eventually. Maybe a future business endeavor will replace the hours I spend behind a sewing machine. One day, having a vegetable garden might be more important than having blog content. Thrifting, of course, is here to stay. For now I’ll just keep loving what I’m doing, every second of every day.